I am in a union. For months I have had the opportunity to wake up and know that the protections I have in place mean that I cannot lose my job without cause. With six long days to go between now and discussing options with my doctors regarding my brain issues, I am even more grateful for this stability.
What an amazing feeling, to be a part of a system of support that will not allow any of the potentialities of my situation to be terrifying. I can afford health insurance. I can afford to get well. My family can feel safe knowing that if things do not go well we have short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance and life insurance policies. To know that I have finally reached a place in life where my preparedness level matches my love level, where there is no room for guilt should something terrible happen, feels good.
Real growing up is far less picturesque than the version my dolls played out in the eighties, where concerns of play houses being large enough for ponies to walk through the door were central to adult happiness equations. My real life dramas of infertility, my husband’s bipolar diagnosis, brain tumors, sick children, premature births, lay offs, long-distance moves and financial distress have colored my adult life vibrantly, almost violently differently than the colors I chose while daydreaming. I love the way my canvas has taken shape, it just feels like a Jackson Pollack has taken root where I had intended to lay the delicate brush strokes of a Dega.
My life reminds me of a strange statistic I heard about teenagers – most teenage girls who are on birth control pills go on the pill after they break up with their first sexual partner. They do not prepare for a sexual relationship before they begin one, but once their first relationship ends they prepare for their next one. I did not prepare for the messes adult life can throw at you when I first stepped into my adult roles but now, with my husband and my two children in tow, I am taking the steps to prepare to be a responsible adult. I have a union job with my rights protected, affordable health insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. I traded in my Hasbro tool belt and it feels good.